Someone, Somewhere, in Summertime

Posted: September 5, 2012 in Fridge Note

Hey, look at this:

Last weekend, Tengrain from Mock, Paper Scissors was doing the Blog round-up at Crooks and Liars, and linked to my RNC#FAIL post.  When I logged into the dashboard, it freaked me the fuck out.  It looked like my stats were flipping me off.  Now that I put it that way, maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised.  Anyway, thanks, TG!

So, the DNC hasn’t had any drunks giving speeches (yet, Clinton is yet to come, HA!).  Just a nun.  And some lady who is married to some guy from Hawaii.   BO-RING.  I did, however, think I saw a couple of crates of pork rectums on the side of the stage.  Who let the Republicans in?

—although I think Al Franken is on his way to hammered.  He’s diagramming a jobs chart with his hands.  Drink up, Al!—

OK.  Moving on.  Getting a new drink.  So Al won’t be lonely, you see.

It is a cliche that architects despise Architectural Review Boards, due to the infringement on Genius Design Fountainhead Artiste.  For my part, I don’t have a problem with ARBs on their own, I view them as part of the process and usually want to work with them collaboratively, as I do with most of the other team on projects. Some ARBs have a tendency to be populated by folks who may not be knowledgeable, but have axes to grind, and those can be kind of hard to deal with. (synchronicity!  Bill Clinton just said that in the real world, what works is cooperation)

In town here, there has been one very strong, educated, and opinionated ARB, in the Third Ward.  I have done a lot of projects there, and sometimes been at odds with them; but eventually we got things done, and even accomplished kewl things:

especially that penthouse

There’s a new ARB in town, though, on the East Side.  And Tuesday, the developer and I presented our project:

Yeah, I know, you all saw that before.  And fish will be around to drive-by mock it before long.

But the existing building is an existing 1912 era commercial building, originally an auto dealership and garage, that had been converted to a mall and been mostly vacant for the last decade.  It occupies a very prominent spot on a major arterial, in a busy local business district (located just a few blocks from Chez Zombie, truth be told) and the BID was very concerned about the disposition of the site, knowing that it occupies a key site.

we talked about the need for this to be a signature building.  We talked about how you add four stories to a one and half story historic building (one of the ARB members is a former architecture prof of mine.  It felt a bit like the old days in studio, presenting a project).  We talked about the relationships to the neighboring buildings, the relationship to the street, the relationship to history.

The ARB was a pleasure to talk with, they were knowledgeable and open and visibly concerned with the neighborhood, as they all lived and worked there too.  we talked coffee.

As we discussed the conceptual design, the members were doubtful at first concerned about the unusual configuration of the addition;  as the plans and elevations were discussed, the logic behind the dramatic design concept and the aesthetics of old vs. new, one could see the members of the board coming to acknowledge the project’s appropriateness and even coming up with some positive aspects we did not present.

We will have to go back with much more detail, colors and materials and such for final approvals;  but for now, the ARB voted unanimously in approval of the project.  Afterwards, they came up to us separately (including my prof) to tell us directly how much they liked the design and were now excited about what most people assumed was a tear down/ vacant site for the foreseeable future.

Yeah, we kind of rocked it.

  1. You both maybe need to pay an ASCII artist….

  2. Jennifer says:

    I had done it for them for an earlier project. EL and I each did something. I thought it would be fun to do with her, plus give her the experience of doing it. I passed on a couple of others just because… time didn’t allow, or I had paying stuff to do, but I thought for this one, maybe EL and I would do it again… 5 years later. When I had not received the assignment, and the deadline is a week from tomorrow, I figured I had better check and see if they had enough or what… I responded to the email I have normally used, but got an assistant, reaming me for using her personal email. WTF???

    Grizzled has always been very cynical of this… “Well, how nice that they get free illustrations!” I keep saying, “It’s for a good cause! You get your work seen! Blah, blah, blah!!!” But, as time goes on… I think most of the things I’ve done because they’re supposed to ultimately pay you back, well, they don’t.

    I LOVE the tap dance story!!! 🙂 I’m going to remember that.

  3. I think that’s exactly it, J. the client uses it to get free work, then gets used to not paying for work, then takes it for granted that they can get work for free; and when you don’t provide it, will go on to find someone else who hasn’t learned the lesson yet.

    Architects are even worse; a lot of them start by free-lancing while working for someone else; so they charge fees that are far too low, don’t have to pay for expenses like office or staff or liability insurance. And then they can’t support the project, because they are in another office during working hours. I have been called in to salvage a couple of those projects.

    One of my favorite stories involves a housing project; I sent them a proposal, but they went with a design-build firm because they saw it as saving them architectural fees (which are just folded into the construction fees, in actuality) but then they found that the financing entity required the design and construction to be separate, under separate liability insurance (D-B companies use construction liability to cover everything). So they called me back. After constrcution was started and they were on the schedule. I told them that my fees for that had to be hourly, as needed, and since I hadn’t done the design work, I could not even give them a Not-To Exceed number. And the first thing I had to do was put construction on hold for a week while I reviewed the plans for errors in structure or code. Found a few, too.

    I felt for them, but had little sympathy. I can advise my clients, but when they insist on doing stupid things, I am not willing to pay for it too.

  4. blue girl says:

    Temporary Costello

    Jennifer! You have an eggsellent memory!

    Also… NO, you are not overreacting about the free work thing! In my experience, every single solitary time we EVER did free work, or gave a huge discount because it was “for a good cause,” they completely raked us over the coals. Totally! Plus, they were always MEAN on top of it.

    If they were rude to you right off the bat, they do not deserve your awesome talent.

    ^ ^

  5. Temporary Costello went the way of the dodo …

    And then he became a Lurker…

    HAH!!! SEE WHAT I DID THERE!!! HUH??!?!?

  6. blue girl says:

    Forgot to tell you, ZRM… in a meeting yesterday where a bunch of guys were throwing around what they thought was “cool” lingo (where they never made any sense!) one guy looked at me and said, “Are you going to architect that?”


    And now, I’m off to architect a couple of drinks with The Skimmer.

    _ _

  7. blue girl says:

    HAH!!! SEE WHAT I DID THERE!!! HUH??!?!?

    Why of course. One of my faves!

  8. I will hunt those guys down and beat them with a brick sample.

    TELL THEM AN ACTUAL ARCHITECT HAS TOLD THEM TO STOP DOING THAT. I will send my copyright attorneys, not to mention the Grammar Zombie Field Team.

  9. Jennifer says:


    EVERYTHING is a verb these days. I wish I could remember the one I heard the other day… I literally gagged.

    Enjoy your drinks, BG! I’m off to carpool… I’m carpooling… but not architecting.

  10. So what is “BlueGirling”?

  11. EVERYTHING is a verb these days.


  12. Look out for that speedra!, he Jennifered.

  13. mikey says:

    Woo Hoo.




    SailorJerry/mikey’s spleen

    Pills, Bills, Thrills, Chills and Spills.

    Oh. And vomit. Don’t forget that.

    I haven’t been paid for anything I did in so long I don’t even care. If somebody will let me do something other than stare pensively out the window and plot shovel larceny I’m so totally IN!


    That’s an encrypted face.

    Hey, know what? There IS an upside. I haven’t paid taxes in a couple years. Nothing that’s happened recently can possibly be construed as being my fault. They’re using YOUR money. Just Sayin…

  14. mikey says:

    Oh. And sorry, but yes.

    You “Architect” a database. You “Architect” a network infrastructure. And you “Architect” a software stack. Database. Application. Middleware. Presentation. You better have developed a sound and robust architecture before deployment or you’re going to be in a world of shit…

  15. Oh, no, mikey. One ‘designs’ all those things. the purloinery of the word “architect’ in the software world is an attempt to borrow status from another profession. I blame Bill Gates for starting the fucking thing, but since I have nearly finished a Fuck You Friday post, I will have to wait until another time to bend him over the Empire Beating-rail.

    Your use of ‘architecture’ is appropriate, but just barely.

    Now go out and ‘mikey’ a shovel….

  16. mikey says:

    Let’s be honest. Your clinging to an old and hackneyed grammatical limitation on the term that describes your profession is provincial at best, and a form of rent-seeking at worst. The language is a living thing, and one of the ways it evolves is that processes become verbs. Rather than fearing the broad usage of a term to describe the process that sits in the hierarchy above ‘design’, one that incidentally celebrates the higher level expertise required to envision the entire project from both a functional and aesthetic level, you should happily embrace the sense that the VALUE of what you do has been recognized and applied to other fields. Some of the smartest and most creative people in IT are Database Architects, and you belittle your own skills when you challenge theirs.

    So that just leaves us with the English language evolution that leaves room for ‘Architect’ to become a verb. And unless your willing to start a jihad against the ongoing evolution of a living language, you are left selectively resisting a specific evolution that you see as diluting the scarcity of skills in your profession. And I don’t think there’s anything to be honestly gained by doing so…

  17. Well, I am clinging to an old and hackneyed profession, and my skills have been belittled in many venues.

    Can I still beat Bill Gates with a shovel?

  18. mikey says:

    Oh, sure. He’s a dick.

    But you’ll find it’s just easier to let the kids play on your lawn than trying to keep them all off night and day…

  19. whoah. I kind of didn’t expect anyone to take that seriously. Oh well.

    On another topic, Holy fucking shitballs.

    Not that I don’t hope that the packers beat them like a rented K-Car, but for now, I find some affection for at least ONE Viking.

  20. What I don’t understand, though, is why ‘engineer’ wasn’t found to be an adequate description of what those people do, mikey. It is closer in description, it is another honorable profession, and FFS, the CURRICULUM at schools that offer it is called ‘software engineering”

    Whatever. It seems likely that thunder and his cohorts will manage to depress enough people to stay home that Rmoney’s Flying Ass-monkey HatredCorps will pull the thing out, and three years from now, my profession will be fully dead, so that might as well be added to the “I don’t give a fuck” file.

  21. Jennifer says:

    I read that earlier as someone was kind enough to send me the link… it almost made me like football.

  22. Jennifer says:

    Oh great… I figured my comment would show up at least somewhere near the comment I was referring to, but noooooo! Now the cheese of a comment stands alone and makes no sense. Why should I change now.

  23. […] to blot that “football” game out of my mind…. a few days ago, jennifer had an ‘amusing’ story about the games that ‘clients’ like to use.   I had a phone call that same day, that I was going to mention in a comment… but it got […]

Go ahead, tell me how I fucked up this time.

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